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Window washers say they were prepared for WTC scaffold incident

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NEW YORK (PIX11) -- For the second time this week, Juan Lizama and Juan Lopez had to endure a harrowing experience.

On Wednesday it was a broken window-washing scaffold 68 stories above the ground at the World Trade Center.

On Friday, they had deal with the New York City media.

"I'm from El Salvador, but I'm very happy I'm here in the United States. God bless America," said Lizama to several laughs at a morning news conference at the headquarters of their union.

Lopez described what the initial seconds were like after they say their scaffold malfunctioned. "In the beginning it was panic and survival."

At one point during the news conference the 33-year-old Lopez stated that the emergency stop failed on the rig, but he also made it clear that this was a scenario they had practiced for in the past. "We've been prepared before the incident for any incident like that. It was a calmness, we knew everything and everybody was safe around us, beneath us. Like I said before, it was just a matter of time."

Lizama said that moments after they found themselves in an urban cliffhanger, he told Lopez, "This is something that is out of her hands. Patience, help is coming."

Then the window-washing veteran of 24 years talked about a few of the calls he made. "I called my wife. I told her there is an emergency but everything is under control."

The union that represents the workers would not allow them to address inquiries about the investigation. However, PIX 11 News did ask the following to the two men, "If they call you next week to go back and work at the World Trade Center, would you go back to work?"

"I'd go back to work tomorrow," said Lizama. Lopez on the other hand a different perspective, "As far as working back on the scaffold, like besides the ground. There are interior jobs as well. You can work from the inside."